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Let Your Favorite Board Game Choose Your Next Read

The Lying Game Book Stack

In the midst of this pandemic, lots of people are picking up new hobbies and sources of entertainment. I mean, you can’t binge Netflix forever, right? Board games, which have seen a resurgence in popularity in the last decade, are a great way to entertain yourself, whether you’re sheltering with family, friends, or partners. If you’ve recently discovered, or in some cases rediscovered, a new favorite game, we’ve got some great books to pair them with.

The Majesties

The Majesties

by Tiffany Tsao

For fans of Monopoly:

If you’re like me, Monopoly was one of the first games you ever played, mostly because it was the only “grown-up” game your family owned that you understood how to play. Hours and hours of going to jail, collecting your $200, and secretly stealing from the banker definitely didn’t help teach you money management, but it did give you a taste of financial power. And that power can corrupt, as in the case of Gwendolyn and Estella in The Majesties. See, both sisters belong to a well-off Chinese family empire in Indonesia, wanting for nothing. One day, however, Estella decides to poison their entire family, though Gwendolyn manages to survive. In this twisting tale of wealth masquerading as unhappiness, Tiffany Tsao builds a glittery world of opulence that slowly rots into something horrifying and dark. You’ll never look at buying property on Pennsylvania Avenue the same way again.

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Things in Jars

Things in Jars

by Jess Kidd

For fans of Scrabble:

Whether you play it old-school with wood tiles and pen-and-paper scorekeeping, or use app versions like Words with Friends, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as weaving your way through a complex jumble to earn triple points. For puzzle-minded word nerds, Things in Jars will supply the mystery, and the vocabulary, you’re looking for. Bridie Devine, a detective in alternate and fantastical Victorian England, must solve the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, a supernatural child who has attracted some not-so-friendly attention. Bridie joins a cast of colorful characters on her mission as more and more turns of phrase—and plot—are thrown her way. This quirky novel, which is sure to keep you on your toes, may even inspire some new winning words.

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The Pillars of the Earth

The Pillars of the Earth

by Ken Follett

For fans of Settlers of Catan:

Many a friendship has been laid at the altar of Settlers of Catan, the historically themed resource management strategy game that is easy to pick up and hard to put down. So why not pair it with a historically themed story of resource management that’s also hard to put down? The Pillars of the Earth follows the building of a cathedral in medieval England, and the lives of those who are entangled in its creation. Author Ken Follett’s expansive tale follows royalty, clergy, and peasantry as they toil, with the construction progress (and lack of it) marking the passing of time. This sprawling tome has plenty of political intrigue, drama, romance, and war to satisfy readers who also love to happily sit and figure out how best to set up their colonies and get those sweet, sweet victory points.

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Luck, Love & Lemon Pie

Luck, Love & Lemon Pie

by Amy E. Reichert

For fans of Candyland:

Ah, the sweet innocence of childhood. Many of us spent hours looking at the delicious artwork of various candy locations as we moved plastic figures on that rainbow road. If you’re looking for something sweet, with games of luck and chance thrown in to boot, Luck, Love & Lemon Pie is your sure bet. MJ picks up poker to try to get her husband, Chris, to spend more time with her and less at the casino. The plan doesn’t quite work, but it turns out MJ is a natural at the game and starts winning big. Like, impressively big. She leaves her home, her teenaged kids, and her marriage behind to find herself in the glittery world of Vegas—where she attracts the eye of a renowned player who’s going all in on her. Light, witty, and vibrant, this book will have you feel like you’re on a sugar high.

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A Death at the University

A Death at the University

by Richard King

For fans of Clue:

Clue is one of those classic games you can’t help but love, with its wacky characters, fun little props, and, of course, murder. You might then think that any murder mystery would do, but to get that signature blend of sinister and silly, a cozy mystery is your best bet. A Death at the University follows Sam Wiseman, a mystery-loving book owner who finds himself (as so many cozy mystery protagonists do) in the center of a murder investigation. After finding the body of a local university professor, he teams up with Detective Gaston Lemieux to figure out who murdered the academic. A mix of light wit and some serious twists, this book will have you hunting down clues and trying to guess the killer right up to the very end.

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The Lying Game

The Lying Game

by Ruth Ware

For fans of The Resistance:

Who doesn’t love a little game of “suss out the spy”? For those who enjoy the ultimate test of wits known as The Resistance, Ruth Ware’s The Lying Game will give you similarly sneaky satisfaction. Four girls, Kate, Isa, Fatima, and Thea, all used to attend the same boarding school where they would play The Lying Game, which involved fibbing to faculty and students alike. However, their game isn’t so innocent, and years later as adults, they have to deal with the consequences of their deceptions. Ware is a master of both suspense and character, which makes every reveal along the way feel like a sucker punch. Can you figure out what’s really going on before the end? The only way to find out is to play the game yourself.

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While You Sleep

While You Sleep

by Stephanie Merritt

For fans of Betrayal at House on the Hill:

Betrayal at House on the Hill is one of the few games that is different every time you play, since the final scenario is dictated by a series of random circumstances. The game’s creepy aesthetic and ever-expanding nature make it feel truly sinister and haunted. Stephanie Merritt’s While You Sleep captures that eerie atmosphere and foreboding haunted house in a way that fans will appreciate. Zoe Adams stumbles into the McBride house after coming to terms with her failing marriage, but the townspeople’s rumors about “the incident” leave her wandering its Scottish mansion halls, trying to see if she’s really not alone. Steeped in Gothic goodness, the book has several dark twists that will keep readers awake through the night.

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A reporter by trade, Sara Roncero-Menendez is a lover of horror, sci-fi, and all things pop culture. From indies to classics to even the strangest genre pieces, all movies, TV shows, and books are fair game for a binge-fest. Follow her on Twitter @sararomenen or at her website, www.sara-roncero-menendez.com